March 19

More proof we need to change our approach

Like many of you, I have been a member of ISSA, HTCIA and plenty of other organizations. As I have developed my career, I have found value in working with other professionals, and continue to find places to network, etc.

Of course, this is why a number of us came together to form the catalyst community

Anyway – I allowed my HTCIA membership to lapse. While I admire the group and their goals, when I moved to Albany, I was immediately disconnected, and as a result, didn’t want to keep spending the money for no return in value. I truly wish more organizations would start to understand that “meeting” does not mean everything has to happen in person. Many organizations would benefit either creating an online community – or at this point, getting engaged and helping to grow the catalyst community.

So this evening, I got this email message:

Dear HTCIA Member,

Our records indicate that your 2007 dues have not been paid. If payment is not received prior to April 15, 2007, you will be required to re-apply as a new member in HTCIA. Renewals can be done via our website at htcia.org, or you may fax your credit card information or mail payment to the International Office address below. After this date, 2007 dues renewals will not be accepted.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and for your continued support of HTCIA.

Sincerely,


So why did I bother to post this?

Perfect opportunity here was missed to demonstrate to me the value of renewing – instead, HTCIA decided to take a tactic of telling me that by not sending in dues, I would be forced to reapply. Personally, I would have asked why I didn’t pay the 2006 dues… and then remind me of some of the benefits and offered a telephone number to discuss what was going on, etc.

I read this message and instantly thought, “screw it.” I doubt that’s the reaction they wanted. But making me feel like an inconvenience to your organization doesn’t encourage me to want to stay. I still like and support the HTCIA – so this message isn’t about bashing them or suggesting that people not join. I think this is a great group and if you have a local chapter, you _should_ join. Yet this approach struck me as “the normal way of doing business” – and upset me. This message was focused on the HTCIA and not focused on me as a member – which is odd, since they are asking for money.

Is this how you treat your users? Are they inconveniences to you? Do you take the time to communicate in a way that meets their needs and demonstrates benefits to them (in their terms)?

Don’t make this mistake with your communications and opportunities to make a difference.


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  1. One who is actively participating in HTCIA would be aware of the benefits of membership. Here is just a few of the advantages that active members are aware of: Access to a Searchable Member Data Base in case your are looking for help from a specific individual or company; An active list serve to post questions to and to get valuable answers; An informational newsletter; a sizable discount for a three day annual International conference, that is the best in the business; regional training events, and training and networking at local membership meetings in your area (Chapters can be located by going to htcia.org). HTCIA is also actively working to improve services all around.

    All of these things are readily available by going to htcia.org. You can find chapters in your area if you moved or want to join another chapter. All one has to do is check out the website or post to the list serve.

    All of these things are possible based upon the work of volunteers, one paid contractor, and a nominal annual membership fee from almost 3,000 members. HTCIA sent numerous reminders to all individuals who had not paid their dues this year. The above e-mail was the last of these reminders.

    Do you ask your utility company to tell you all the advantages of having power when you get a bill? Do you expect this sort of encouragement before they turn the lights out? If you don’t expect it from a company that is for profit how can you demand it form a non-profit organization, made up of volunteers, who just wanted to remind you to pay your dues?

    Posting to a list because you don’t like the tone of a notice to pay your dues just doesn’t make sense. This was not a solicitation to donate money. It is a requirement for membership. If you don’t value the membership get involved and improve it. You could have gone to the htcia.org website and found contact information for the Executive Secretary, all International Officers and all chapters to express your concerns. Posting to a list to complain about a legitimate notice just doesn’t make sense. Tell you what…. ignore the notice. Forget it ever got to and don’t pay your dues, and maybe HTCIA will forget about your posting to this website.

  2. One who is actively participating in HTCIA would be aware of the benefits of membership. Here is just a few of the advantages that active members are aware of: Access to a Searchable Member Data Base in case your are looking for help from a specific individual or company; An active list serve to post questions to and to get valuable answers; An informational newsletter; a sizable discount for a three day annual International conference, that is the best in the business; regional training events, and training and networking at local membership meetings in your area (Chapters can be located by going to htcia.org). HTCIA is also actively working to improve services all around.

    All of these things are readily available by going to htcia.org. You can find chapters in your area if you moved or want to join another chapter. All one has to do is check out the website or post to the list serve.

    All of these things are possible based upon the work of volunteers, one paid contractor, and a nominal annual membership fee from almost 3,000 members. HTCIA sent numerous reminders to all individuals who had not paid their dues this year. The above e-mail was the last of these reminders.

    Do you ask your utility company to tell you all the advantages of having power when you get a bill? Do you expect this sort of encouragement before they turn the lights out? If you don’t expect it from a company that is for profit how can you demand it form a non-profit organization, made up of volunteers, who just wanted to remind you to pay your dues?

    Posting to a list because you don’t like the tone of a notice to pay your dues just doesn’t make sense. This was not a solicitation to donate money. It is a requirement for membership. If you don’t value the membership get involved and improve it. You could have gone to the htcia.org website and found contact information for the Executive Secretary, all International Officers and all chapters to express your concerns. Posting to a list to complain about a legitimate notice just doesn’t make sense. Tell you what…. ignore the notice. Forget it ever got to and don’t pay your dues, and maybe HTCIA will forget about your posting to this website.

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